When it comes to taking care of your yard, you can sometimes feel like you’re doing battle with your pet, especially if you have a digger or a particularly heavy-footed pooch. The answer is to put up fencing in those areas where you really don’t want your canine, at least until your plants are full size; it’s when the plants are just emerging from winter’s sleep that they are at their most vulnerable to being stomped down.
But this article is about creating a pet-friendly yard, not a pet-free yard. Once you have your garden plants protected, think about how you can plant the rest of your yard so that it will benefit both you and your pets. Here at petswelcome, both of our guys are shoulder rollers; the stinkier the stuff, they happier they are. But we’ve also noticed them doing the dive on the lawn, and realized that they like the smell of clover. And they’ve done the same in a patch of lavender we have. So consider sowing your lawn with clover seeds, or do yourself a favor and ditch your high-maintenance lawn for a low-maintenance herb lawn. Low-growing herbs like thyme work best, and there are a slew of differently scented thyme varieties you can pick from, like mint, caraway, coconut, lime, and lemon.
And herbs aren’t just for smell-crazy canines. Why not grow your own catnip (Nepeta cataria; also known as catmint)? It’s a bushy perennial with spring green foliage that grows to about 18 inches high. (Fun fact: Leopards, cougars, and lynxes react to catnip the same way your feline does!) At the end of the season, you can cut the plants and hang them to dry, or dry them on baking sheets in a 180 degree oven (it’ll take about 2 hours). Then you’ll have plenty of dried catnip on hand to make little catnip pillows to send your kitty into euphoria whenever you like. You can get in on it too, by making yourself catnip tea; for each cup of tea, steep about 1 teaspoon of dried leaves.
Lastly, think about planting your yard with one or two big shrubs like forsythia or witch hazel. They’re beautiful in their own right but they provide welcome hideaway spaces for both cats and dogs where they can beat the heat, take a snooze, do their business in private, or gaze longingly at the birdies in the branches above them.